Following up on a vow to make racial reconciliation an integral part of its ministry (CT, Jan. 6, 1997, p. 67), the Promise Keepers (PK) men's movement last month hosted its first African-American leaders' summit.
Using the theme Appointment with Destiny, more than 100 African-American U.S. leaders attended sessions March 6-7 to learn firsthand the goals of the Denver-based PK. Through an open forum, they discussed the future of the six-year-old ministry headed by former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney.
"The destiny of the church is reconciliation," said PK board chair Phillip H. Porter, Jr., a bishop in the Church of God in Christ. "What price are we willing to pay? Coach Mac says he's going to see racism in the church eradicated in our lifetime. It's with that sort of faith that we've invited you here to dialogue with us."
Several black leaders voiced concerns about PK being a white-dominated evangelical ministry. But details about 18 percent of PK's leadership being African American helped defuse the tension.
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Alonzo E. Short, Jr., a PK board member, said, "God has brought Promise Keepers into our midst to give us a wake-up call."
Speaking of the divisions within the African-American church, Church of God in Christ Bishop Samuel Green said, "God wants us to be reconciled to each other."
According to Porter, the meeting was the first in a series. Other meetings will be held for Hispanic, Native American, and Asian leaders.
PK is hoping to recruit minorities to participate in its October 4 "solemn assembly of men," a prayer repentance gathering in Washington, D.C.1